Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal Pay the Rent at Cerritos
By Glen Creason
There was only one thing wrong with the show put together by Broadway stars Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal at the Performing Arts Center
on Saturday evening: there weren’t enough people in the audience. It wasn’t that the crowd needed company since they were as enthusiastic as any in hall history and exploded joyfully at any number of opening notes to the many songs sung on this night. While Rapp and Pascal are well known on the Great White Way
for their roles in the original production of the multi-Tony award winning show “Rent” they may not carry the same cache out west, especially out southeast LA County.
Yet, both young men demonstrated talent and passion to spare, singing with such conviction and confidence that the two dozen numbers they performed kept the audience ecstatically happy for over two solid hours. While their styles are completely different they both possess wonderful voices and tremendously polished stage presences. Adam Pascal opened the show with an acerbic wit and a powerhouse voice that ranged from baritone to strong tenor to falsetto with dramatic effect. He sang from Broadway and Pop but managed to pay homage to the composers without copying the songs exactly. Case in point was Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” and Peter Gabriel’s poignant “Solsbury Hill” along with show music gems “I Don’t Care Much” from Cabaret, “What I Did for Love” from A Chorus Line, Steven Sondheim’s “Not a Day Goes By,” “I Feel You Joanna” from Sweeney Todd and a jazzy arrangement of “Maria” from West Side Story. He also sang some very nice original material including “Turn the Lights On” which he accompanied with himself on stick-bass and a memorable send up of his “A Single Drop of You.” Finally there was a rather unusual tribute to Ronnie James Dio which allowed Pascal to use every molecule of his very strong pipes.
While Anthony Rapp seems diametrically opposite in his cool, laid-back attitude the voice and stage confidence gained on Broadway were just the same as his concert-mate. Rapp elicited wild response from the RENT-heads in the mezzanine with his every move but for the most part he had the talent to match the adoration. His set was much more romantic and emotional but contained the similar components of Broadway and Pop. He did splendid versions of “Creep” by Radiohead, “Losing My Religion” by REM and a velvety “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol along with show tune “The Origin of Love” from Hedwig and the Angry Itch.
There were also his original material “Then Again” and “Now I Know.” given a nice sheen by his sweet voice.
Very powerful moments came in songs he dedicated to his late Mother “Visits to You” and “Without You” that had hankies mopping tears and mascara all over the hall. Still the many RENT-heads were hoping for and got a handful of the many great songs from that fine musical. “Living in America
” just whet the appetites which were further satisfied by encores including “One Song Glory” and “There’s Only Us” and “Seasons of Love” that pretty much sent the audience into a spirited standing ovation.